Dr. John Holdren Provides a Clear Concise Answer When Asked About US Nuclear Technology Leadership
It has taken me a couple of days to get around to finish watching the talk that Dr. John Holdren, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, gave to MIT students as the speaker for the 2010 David J. Rose Lectureship in Nuclear Technology. Dr. Holdren gave his talk, titled The Energy / Climate-Change Challenge and the Role of Nuclear Energy in Meeting It, on October 25, 2010.
Though I disagree with the way that he told the story and I disagree with the “no silver bullet” philosophy expressed, I recognize that Dr. Holdren is a politician as well as a scientist, so it is sometimes necessary to listen very carefully in order to get the important messages. I found the below clip to be very interesting and thought it was worth emphasizing and sharing.
As Holdren clearly indicates – fighting a battle against both continued dependence on fossil fuels and against the continued emissions of massive quantities of greenhouse gases into our shared atmosphere will be far easier with a growing nuclear energy industry that without it.
Download the slides from the presentation.
Thanks for sharing, as always Rod. Check for a typo: ” I found the below clip to be very interesting and though it was worth emphasizing and sharing.”
See if you *thought it was worth sharing…
Three examples of myopia (denial?):
‘Help the rest of the world figure out how to get that done’
It is clear the rest of the world will not in fact need our help.
‘It will be a long time before they are as big as the US operation today’
Referring to China, is 15 years a long time?
‘Not in any danger of being left in the dust’
I would say the danger of exactly that is evident.
A lot less than 15 years….
Try 112 GW by 2020:
The first 15 minutes are a introductions. The last 15 minutes are about solutions. In between we see that Dr. Holdren is from college of chicken little.
By May of 2001, Bush had made AGW a priority. The debate is over. The question then and now is what is the best way to address AGW. The best solution then and now is not shutting down efficient coal plants in the US but to help China and India build nuke plants.
The US has 104 operating nuke plants. We need to help China and India build 100+ nuke plants.
It would be nice if the current POTUS would focus on getting government out the way of building new nukes in the US to replace aging coal plants rather than destroying the US economy with cap and tax.
When you put a bunch of anti-nuke anti-business regulators at the NRC, EPA, Department of Interior, and White House it creates uncertainty. To be fair these folks are slow on renewable energy too. They want a ton of money to promote jobs but then hold on to it causing layoffs in wind and solar.
Can anyone tell me if Nuclear deals are part of the agenda of Obama’s upcoming India visit? Specifically, I know India is already building nuclear plants, but I remember reading somewhere recently that there is some sort of liability law which U.S. nuclear vendors are finding so objectionable they don’t think they’ll be able to do business in India. Is Obama planning to try to work something out with India so that U.S. Corporations can be involved in helping build the 100+ reactors and plants to power India? I’d love to see U.S. jobs in U.S. factories (and engineering firms) designing and building components and reactors for India (and China).
I will try and give you a somewhat less ideologically tainted answer than Kit.
The US nuclear industry (such as it is) is a collection of private corporations. In India they are competing against primarily Russian and French vendors. The nuclear industries in those countries are extensions of their respective governments and, as such, enjoy soverign immunity from liability.
The Indian legislature has passed liability legislation that establishes the nuclear equipment vendor with essentially unlimited liability. The ramifications of that law are much more onerous for private corporations than for state enterprises. The Obama administration is working with the Indian government to try and revise this liability legisation but has an uphill battle. The Indian legislature has a very bitter taste in its mouth from the Bophal disaster several years ago when a Dow Chemical plant killed several thousand people and suffered relatively little liability for it.
I wonder – if we had to, could the U.S. Department of Energy be authorized by Congress to start a State-Owned Corporation whose whole purpose is to serve as an agent for U.S. corps (that is to say, it wouldn’t compete withe G.E., Westinghouse, etc, but would basically act as a ‘front’ for them)? E.g. GE might not be able to sell parts in India, but G.E. could sell parts to the “U.S. Energy Corp”, who turns around and re-sells it to India. all the while enjoying sovereign immunity?
@Guest – I am not sure I know of any US corporations any more. We live in a global economy where publicly traded companies are owned by a large, diverse base of stockholders located all over the world. Many of the institutions that own a company like GE are located somewhere else. GE often does not source its supplies in the US. Westinghouse has a stated policy of “buy where we build”.
@Jeff – the largest employer in my current hometown is Areva North America. I am pretty sure that some of the international business that Areva does creates jobs here in America as well.
In fact, recent history tells me that Areva is more likely to try to build productive capacity in the US than GE is. Areva has significantly increased its employee base here while GE has moved significant portions of its production out of the US.
My point is not to be an Areva cheerleader, but to discuss my unhappiness with the kind of leaders that our business schools have been turning out.
Minor correction: AREVA is the second largest employer. Centra Health is the largest employer in the region.
@Brian – thank you for the correction. I guess I should have followed my own advice to do some minimal fact checking. I should have know that the largest employer by head count would be related to health care.
Yes, US nuclear companies are going to India with Obama to sell nuke stuff. Bush laid the ground work to do nuclear work with those countries. When have success in China but not yet India yet.
I do not think Obama has what it takes. I am afraid we have another Jimmy Carter. Idealism does not matter if you are weak and ineffective. India wants to play hardball and we sent a girls softball team and not a very good one at that. France and Russia will help India. If the price is right that is.
Comments are closed.
Recent Comments from our Readers
The Clinton Nuclear Plant also in Illinois was shutdown essentially for almost 2 years before it was taken over by…
Good Podcast – Very informative One thing that was not discussed is how to deal with a particular fear that…
Renewables people are masters in marketing. Unreliable intermittent generators whose output is all over the place, and usually badly correlated…
Looking at their lineup, Westinghouse seems bound and determined to keep Gen IV in its “place” which is apparently the…
So they are developing a scaled down version of the AP1000, which is a scaled up version of the AP600,…